Seed catalogs help this gardener through winter

Hello. My name is Erin and I’m a seed-catalog addict.

You might as well know now, if we’re going to have any sort of meaningful relationship. Acknowledging the problem is the first step. In the gloomiest time of year, when my garden sleeps under leaves and the birds peck the last remaining morsels from the sunflower heads, seed catalogs are what keep this gardener’s hope for spring alive.

The stack of glossy, rich pages bursting with blooms and bulbs beckons to me from my bedside table at night. My husband isn’t amused with my obsession, which keeps both of us up late.

The conversation usually goes something like this:

Me: Ooh, I kind of want to grow artichokes just for the flowers. Look how gorgeous they are! (Displaying super-beautiful blooms in fashion of Vanna White turning a new letter on Wheel of Fortune.)

Husband: Where are you going to put those? We’re running out of room.

Me: We don’t really need a lawn, do we? Ooh, look, have you ever seen this pumpkin before?

Husband: (Mumbles and turns over.)

Now, who can resist a pumpkin called “red warty thing?”

Something about the desperation of winter entices me to order seeds for things I would never, ever grow to eat. Oh, but those tiny eggplants are so adorable and shiny, and look: a kohlrabi the size of a football!

It does get a tad ridiculous. But I will continue to drool over the cosmic purple carrots and plot my dream garden as the winter doldrums drag on.

These are some of my favorite catalogs:

Seed Savers Exchange —

This is the seed catalog featured in the locavore’s bible, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver.

What I like about Seed Savers is its effort to preserve heirloom varieties of produce and flowers through its members, usually families that have saved seeds for generations.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds —

Jere Gettle started Baker Creek when he was 17 years old. The catalog features a wide variety of seeds with gorgeous photographs, elegant descriptions and interesting histories on the seeds’ origins.

Botanical Interests —

This Colorado-based seed company features the most gorgeous illustrations and helpful advice about cultivation and using what you grow.

Check out the impressive selection of nasturtiums, poppies, sunflowers and sweet peas.

Seeds From Italy —

Yes, some varieties of Italian seeds grow very well in the Grand Valley. Make sure to check the zones to find what’s most compatible.

Most of their seeds come in generous packets — order with a friend!


Erin McIntyre is a writer, gardener and Grand Valley native in the midst of starting her own gourmet pickle company. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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